Lips, lips, poor winter lips. It’s easy to irritate and dehydrate the thin, delicate skin of lips in winter, especially since they’re regularly exposed to the elements and aren’t protected by oil glands like the rest of the face. Without proper care, they’re quick to get dry, flaky, and cracked, which also makes it difficult to create the look of gorgeous red and nude lips that I wrote about last week. But there are several easy things we can do to keep lips looking and feeling good.
Avoid biting on flaky skin, to avoid further irritation and potentially tearing fragile skin. Also avoid licking lips, which causes moisture to evaporate. I’m totally guilty of these things and am working on it. sigh.
Drink plenty of water to maintain moisture in the skin. My health coach Christine Gonzalez, an expert in nutrition and a holistic approach to health, says this is a bigger challenge than usual in winter, because we don’t feel as thirsty and tend to drink less, since we aren’t sweating as much. This is definitely a challenge for me so I make extra efforts to get the recommended 64 ounces of water a day. Considering that a typical water glass holds 12 to 16 ounces, I make sure I’m chugging four or five glasses of water a day.
Exfoliating the lips is something that many people don’t think of. But it’s something everyone can benefit from, because it wipes out dry, dead, flaky skin and leaves behind soft, supple lips. It also helps moisturizers work better, because they’re no longer just sitting on top of dead skin. If you want to go DIY, gently buff with a paste of sugar and honey. If you want something more convenient, get some Sara Happ Lip Scrub ($24). She’s created what I consider to be the best, easiest-to-use formula around. It also comes in six yummy flavors, like vanilla bean and cocoa.
Regardless of what you use, scrub lips a few times a week or as needed. I do this about every other day this time of year. But go easy. You can overdo it and irritate lips more.
Most of us moisturize our lips. I’m picky with balms, because so many are waxy, tacky, and heavy, which I’m not fond of. Here are three I adore for everyday…
• Weleda Everon Lip Balm ($5) has a light feel that really moisturizes and stays on well. It contains wax but doesn’t feel heavy and waxy. It also contains organic shea butter and jojoba oil to moisturize, and rose extract, which is said to promote cell regeneration. It’s free of synthetic preservatives, fragrances, and colors. And it’s light enough to use before applying lipstick.
• Ren Biomimetic Perfect Lip Honey ($19) feels wonderfully smooth and totally multitasks. Along with moisturizing, it’s touted to naturally stimulate collagen production, plump, heal, strengthen, retain moisture, and reduce oxidative damage from the environment. It contains no petrochemicals, sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrance, and other nasties. It’s great during the day and as an overnight treatment.
• Sara Happ Lip Slip ($24) is especially good as a night treatment, because it’s super moisturizing, thick, and stays put. This also works really well as a moisturizing gloss.
Before applying lipstick, I skip most balms. Instead I use something lighter to add moisture so color goes on smoothly, but without so much moisture that the color slides off. As I mentioned above, the Weleda balm works well, because it has a lighter feel than most balms. Here are two more products work really well…
• Aveda Renewing Lip Treatment ($15). This is light, minty fresh, moisturizing, smoothing, and plumps the lips without any irritation. It moisturizes with many natural oils and waxes, like pomegranate seed oil and raspberry leaf wax. It also contains anti-oxidant rich bilberry to protect skin from the environment.
• It Cosmetics Reversible Lip Liner ($18). This is actually meant to be applied around the lips to prevent feathering. But I’ve found that it works well as a lip primer, particularly because it contains shea butter, which helps seal in moisture.